Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence in the first-ever book to document the full story of modern Christian church practices. Many Christians take for granted that their churchs practices are rooted in Scripture. Yet those practices look very different from those of the first-century church. The New Testament is not silent on how the early church freely expressed the reality of Christs indwelling in ways that rocked the first-century world.Times have changed.
Pagan Christianity leads us on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan practices. One of the most troubling outcomes has been the effect on average believers: turning them from living expressions of Christs glory and power to passive observers. If you want to see that trend reversed, turn to Pagan Christianity...a book that examines and challenges every aspect of our contemporary church experience.
©2008 Frank Viola and George Barna; (P)2008 christianaudio.com
I will try to not set off some entrenched church member out there with my review. Some people pan this book as foolishness. I have read the book and I will say that it gives a pretty clear understanding of why American church culture is ineffective today. This book (I have read the hard copy version of it) has footnotes that are exhaustive, pointing to the exact documents or historical manuscripts that prove the "why" of formal, organized church. All I can say is this: Give it an honest go, refraining from listening to attackers of the author and/or the topic matter. You can form your own conclusion, but it can't be a genuine conclusion (for your own sake) unless you finish the book and reflect upon what you see in church today and contrast it with what the first Christian worshippers experienced. This topic is very touchy, but I felt the author did a great job of trying to refrain from "church bashing," even though many detractors will claim otherwise. Someone once said that a mature person has the ability to listen to an idea without the fear that the idea will pollute his current thinking. I would also say that we don't have to throw a wrecking ball at everything we disagree with. Let us submit ourselves to the process of listening far more than we talk, for when we DO talk...our words will be meaningful when they are spoken.
This book seems very informative, and as an atheist, I'm happy there is a discussion about the true historic roots of many modern Christian rituals among those who wish to remain Christian/religious/etc.
My purpose for writing this review is to warn other secularist readers who are interested in the historical value of this book— it is fascinating to be sure! Be aware, however, that an equal portion of the book is essentially a sermon and philosophical argument from the author's very Christian point of view. I bought this book for the history behind Christian practices and wound up with a lot more preaching than I bargained for. If it doesn't bother you that this is a book by Christians for Christians, there's a lot of good stuff here.
I picked this book up at a book store a few years back and immediately put it back on the shelf. As I scanned its contents, it concerned me, but to be honest I was already wondering the same things Frank writes about in the book. If you want to be challenged like never before in you faith, then buy this audio book. But if you are comfortable going to “church” every week and calling it good, then keep on moving. There are literally thousands of books for you. This is the only Christian book I have read (listened to) 3 times. It is not annoying audio like another review said. The reader does a fine job at a good pace. Frank does not bash the church, only the institutions of man. I sincerely sensed a genuine concern and love for the Bride of Christ in this book and it connected many dots as to why the church as we know it is an enterprise and weak. Be Ye Careful for this book is not for the faint of heart. I LOVED it.
I can't count the number of times I have re-read this (or listened if you prefer) and Viola's other related works: Reimagining Church, From Eternity to Here, Finding Organic Church, The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, and Jesus Manifesto. Each one will challenge you to test what you have been doing in institutional religion in a way that will wreck you. I had to set it aside several times before I gained the strength and guidance of other believers around me to start making my move toward organic. We have a long way to go, and still have a lot of unanswered questions, but we are starting to see the fruit of our prayers.
I was very pleased with the content of this book.
From start to finish it is full of interesting information. Some books tend to have a certain amount of filler or wordiness to make them book size. This one has none of that. It is interesting and well read all the way through.
Yes, to help many people understand what should be going on in the Christian life.
Yes, he was perfect with a great calm but expressive voice.
Very glad it was available through Audible!
I have listened to it several times in the past week or so. I get more from it every time I listen to it
very well read
The book confirmed many of the things that I have been thinking about over the past several years.
This is one of the best books I have read or listened to in years.
I am a Christian and I found this book inspiring, even though it revealed some uncomfortable truths about corporate worship today, and how it found its present form.
My goal is to read 52 books in 1 year! I read 33 last year!
This book has really made me think, and question why we do certain things in church. A must read for a thinking believer
Informative, exhaustive, transparent.
After years of observing and participating in "religious" practices in church, I wanted an understanding of why we did the things we do in the body of Christ when there was no biblical precedent for most if. This book was eye-opening as well as liberating! I pray that the revelation in this book spreads like wildfire... If we should be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us, how much more should we know why we "do church" as we do?
Very easy to listen to.
Let the true church of the living God please stand up.
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